Tuesday, December 30, 2014

It's been a warm winter here, till the 27th of December when it snowed all day.
Then on the 29th of December it snowed all day.
Sasha is grateful it held off till they were able to get this portion of the 
kitchen/classroom building at the church completed.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

This week has kept Sasha busy, continuing to get documents certified and to the correct office. As I shared in the last newsletter, the neighbor to the back of the property still refuses to be helpful and willing to sign the papers we need in order to change the purpose of the plot for Stephen's home from an orchard, to a residence. Therefore Sasha is taking the long road, but making sure in the process that every "t" is crossed and every "i" is dotted. Thankful to be working with such a man who is willing to go the extra mile, 
knowing that this project is in God's hands.

The most recent addition to the church addition

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My sister Wendy is so sweet!

She explains here: "In August 2013, I visited missionaries of New Mission Systems International within the Europe Region. While there, I asked God for insight on how I might assist their ministries beyond my role as Human Resources Director. He gave me Christmas card designs that display some aspect of each ministry. I am excited to share with you the first design for this Christmas, “First Sled Ride.” Inspired by the ministry of Alys, my sister, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the cards will go toward the building of Stephen and Naomi’s homes; handicap accessible, family homes for orphans when they turn 18 and graduate from the orphanage. Cards are available for a suggested donation of $25 for 20 black and white cards with accompanying Christmas Green envelopes.

Please email for ordering details." Wendy West

Tis the season...
... of hope, freedom, celebration, rejoicing

Friday, December 12, 2014

To give you a better idea of the future location of Naomi and Stephen's homes, where the church in Darivka is located, in comparison with Kherson, here are a couple of images that should help clarify.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014



The only small corner of the building still remaining is the out house. 
Once this small building comes down, the way for machinery to reach the PROMISE property, for Stephen's home (in the background), will be wide and easily accessible.

below: The plan is to get the interior work completed as soon as possible, in part so the
congregation will no longer have to use an outdoor facility through these cold winter months.
These leftover bricks from bringing down the old garage (pictured above) are being used
for the interior walls of the church's new addition, the bathroom and Sunday school classroom. 
We are preserving and conserving as possible.
Very grateful for Sasha's (project manager) resourcefulness.

Windows are in & Doors are up

This week, after the thaw of ice in and around Kherson, Sasha and the crew were able to get back to work. Over the past couple weeks, they were able to get the front entry way into the church completed including the ramp at the front of the church connecting to the new front doorway. Yesterday they put on the front door along with the windows on all the new additions.

preparations made for pouring the ramp

pouring the cement

all finished

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

As here in the states, the image of the stork is a symbol of blessing and fertility in Ukraine. We just don't see the storks. In Ukraine, they have many, and on the roof tops of homes is where they build their nests. Many trinkets and souvenirs have the image of the stork, guarding her nest, atop a country home called a "dache". Well, this beautiful bird decided to bless the workers at the church with it's presence as they were working this day. Maybe it was the Lord giving his blessing upon the workers and the church in a visual way. He has blessed this work, the preparation for Stephen's home, and he continues to make 
His presence known in a mighty way. So very grateful!

yes it's real

Monday, November 17, 2014

With the walls for the additional classroom and indoor bathroom complete
the roof was next

The building here in the foreground will be cleared to make way 
for machinery that will be needed on the back portion 
of the property in order to build Stephen's home.

This portion of the Naomi & Stephen's homes project
began on October 6th with the tear down of old storage buildings
and one month later on November 6th the roof of the new building was completed.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Friday, November 6th, the trees on the property of Stephen's home were transplanted by Sasha, in the blue shirt, and Joe and Jen, specialist, more importantly friends and a blessing from the Lord at the perfect time. The new garden/orchard area will become a joy for the home.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

This past month of October has been busy at the site where Stephen's home will be built. Sasha and two crews have been working hard to prepare for building by clearing the older storage buildings as well as moving the entry way into the church, as the church sits at the very front of the property. The need for this preparation is to, in the future, provide building machinery access to the back portion of the property. Up until now it's been just a simple garden gate into the back orchard.


Sasha's crews are trying to get done as much as possible before winter comes. The rains have given them a bit of a set back, but they're doing all they can to get the exterior walls and roof completed. The interior work can be completed through the coming winter.

This is the foundation for the new, indoor, handicapped accessible bathroom and classroom space for the kids at church.

The foundation now with walls on it.

At the front of the church, the new entry way is being constructed.
The foundation for the ramp and stairs is in place.
A large old tree has to be removed to allow for this expansion, 
so in time we'll have to replace it with another.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

In April we began the process to establish the Ukrainian nonprofit charitable organization called PROMISE. From the 17th of April through mid August I was working with Sasha, our lawyer and a couple of wonderful ladies who are dear friends who helped me translate the whole legal document into English so I could understand it. We spent many hours with the lawyer, who is a brother in Christ, going through every page to make sure it stated what we wanted for PROMISE and for the future of these homes. My pastor and Sasha, the founders of the organization, submitted the document for the official registration process at the end of the summer. It is Ukrainian in its format and set up so that the homes will be under the care of this charity will be blessed by the care of PROMISE. Our board of directors, board of advisers, and auditors are a mix of Ukrainians and Americans; Sasha is the charity director, project manager for the building of the homes and pastor. He's great! So is God!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Over the past few months we have been working hard to prepare for the building of the two homes that will become the future homes for many of the teens who have been moved from the Tsyurupinsk orphanage. They now reside in institutions in the Kherson region but long to be together again. A major reason for establishing Naomi and Stephen's home. 

The property for Stephen's home has been donate by the church in Darivka, so we will begin by building this home first. The division of the property has taken place. This document shows the division line behind the church property for the two parcels of land. The registration of the land for Stephen's home is now officially under PROMISE, the Ukrainian, non-profit charitable organization just established to provide for the long term care and provision of these homes and those living in them.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Loving on disable children in a small town, state run orphanage.

Most kids in Ukraine have to leave the orphanage at 18 years of age. A normal, healthy orphan has a rather bleak future if they don't have the encouragement of others. Most have few life skills and a poor education, and they are left to fend for themselves.

But for handicapped orphans, those labeled mentally disabled, their future is miserable. At 18 they are uprooted from the only home they have ever known, the orphanage, and sent to live in a psychological "internat" (government run institute) or an old-age home for the rest of their lives. They have no rights… no formal education and no understanding of life outside the orphanage. Desperate for freedom and longing to be loved, they are isolated from society.

Throughout their life in Ukraine, nothing for these disabled children comes easily. The world here is not handicap accessible. The stigma and cultural perspective remains in many people’s minds that these kids are not kids and need to be shut away. That is what has been done, having been placed in institutes they are not allowed to leave. The mentality of some who work in the homes is that the children don’t have feelings because they cannot respond or interact as a typical child. The children are not expected to live. That changes the whole outlook on care, feeding, nurturing, health, and every aspect of life.

But what about their hearts?

Necessities are covered by a small stipend from the local government for families who keep their disabled children in their homes. Many homes are single moms, and if she is at home with her disabled child, she cannot work to put food on the table or provide a roof over her family’s head. The government’s stipend does not begin to cover these needs. In many ways, out of a pure lack of resources, it is easier for the family to allow the government to provide, which means giving up their parental rights and letting someone else take care of their children.

The government will step in and remove a disabled child from the home if there is alcohol abuse, drug, and/or physical abuse. These addictions often result in the child having epilepsy. This is one of the biggest problems in the orphanage.

For all the children, no matter if their disability is physical, mental, or both, between 18 and 19 years of age, they will be moved to an asylum referred to as a psycho-neurological “internat” for adults or to a facility comparable in nature to an old folk’s homes.

This is the future for these young adults.